Around 10,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers have joined a round-the-clock live-fire exercise code-named “Snowland Mission 2021” on the Tibet plateau at an elevation of 4,500m, China’s defence ministry said on Friday.
The ministry said that more than 10 brigades and regiments assigned to the PLA Tibet Military Command have deployed to verify the overall operational effectiveness of the combat units and weapons.
“The exercise, an all-time, all-domain, all-factor, round-the-clock live-fire exercise involving units of combined arms, is aimed at enhancing the troops’ overall combat capabilities ib high-altitude areas, including joint operation, precise attack, efficient destruction, and comprehensive logistics support,” the PLA said in a statement.
China’s media reports suggest that the PLA has started validating their capabilities in transporting military assets using high speed trains from Lhasa to Nyngchi- around 17 km away from Arunachal border.
© AFP 2021 / INDIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
This undated handout photograph released by the Indian Army on February 16, 2021 shows People Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers during military disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at the India-China border in Ladakh
These exercises and military build-up are underway despite the disengagement agreement for Gogra Post 17A reached between India and China in the first week of August.
Indian media reports suggest that PLA expressed its unwillingness to move their troops from Patrolling Point 15, and north of Gogra during the last military commanders’ talks on 31 July.
China has also cut off the patrol routes of the Indian military in Depsang Plains, from Point 9 to Point 13, media reports claimed. PLA has also disputed Point 15 and Point 17A in the past, but as per a recent disengagement agreement, the Indian Army will not patrol by the 17A point.
Contest in the Ocean
Simultaneously, PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command carried out a beach landing exercise under real combat conditions to test combat readiness and capability as well. The PLA Navy also carried out live ammunition training in the South China Sea, Yellow Sea and Bohai Strait this week.
A brigade of PLA Eastern Theater Command recently conducted a beach landing exercise under real combat condition to test combat readiness and capability. pic.twitter.com/HCMNKJza7Q— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) August 27, 2021
“Practising unilateralism and instigating confrontation will only lead to tension, instead of bringing about so-called ‘freedom and openness’,” said Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of National Defence, on Thursday when commenting the recent US-led multinational joint exercises in the Indo-Pacific region at the regular press conference.
Quad members—India, Japan, US and Australia, have been carrying out Malabar Exercise in the Pacific which will continue till 29 August.
Snr. Col. Tan remarked that the US, for some time, by perceiving some other countries as its imaginary enemies, organised large-scale military exercises, formed gangs in relevant waters and showed off its military strength.